IDDIS opens 20 November!

IDDIS opens on Saturday 20 November.

On Saturday, 20 November, IDDIS – the Norwegian Printing Museum and the Norwegian Canning Museum – will finally open in Old Stavanger. The two museums will thus be co-located, since the new museum building is in the old garden of the canning museum. IDDIS will present exhibitions about Stavanger’s important canning industry and about the people who made it grow. On the ground floor of the new building, there will be exhibitions about the printing industry and the sociocultural significance of written language and the art of printing. The Print Shop on the upper level will show how a text is typeset, printed and bound as a book.

Why the name IDDIS? The Norwegian word ‘etikett’ means ‘label’. In the local dialect, labels on canned food were initially called ‘iddikett’, but this was eventually reduced to ‘iddis’. The Norwegian Canning Museum and the Norwegian Printing Museum have an overlapping industrial history due to the need for colourful labels and packaging for the growing canning industry. This laid the foundation for a robust printing industry in Stavanger.

The Norwegian Canning Museum opened in 1982 with the aim of commemorating canning, a large and significant industry in Stavanger from 1873 to 1982. The museum is located in a former cannery in Old Stavanger and has been popular with the public for many years. In 2019 it welcomed more than 66,000 visitors despite being closed in the autumn and winter due to renovation.

The Norwegian Printing Museum was established in 1991. It opened in 1993 in an old canning warehouse in Sandvigå in Stavanger. The building and surrounding area were then re-zoned for hotel development, so in 2013 the museum closed and its collections were put in storage while new premises were being planned.

Due to the parallel and overlapping histories of canning and printing in Stavanger, it was reasonable and desirable to co-locate the Norwegian Printing Museum and the Norwegian Canning Museum. Today, however, there are completely different requirements for museums and museum buildings than when these two museums were established. Museums must now to a much greater extent treat the public’s experience as central. They are expected to be inviting social meeting places with attractive exhibitions, exciting events, cafés, museum shops and participatory workshops for the public.

The starting assumption for erecting a new museum building in the backyard of the Norwegian Canning Museum was that it should intervene as little as possible in the surroundings. It should be adapted to the backyard and take into consideration the buildings of Old Stavanger. The plan was to put as much of the building as possible below ground level, and have the visible structure located where there used to be a building that, in 1999, was proposed as the locale for the printing museum.

In 2014, Museum Stavanger developed a room programme and sketch project for the new printing museum. The following year an architectural competition was held between three firms: Eder Biesel Arkitekter, Snøhetta and KAP Arkitekter AS (this was after a pre-qualification round with 57 applicants). Eder Biesel Arkitekter won with the sketch project Møte i Gamle Stavanger (Meeting in Old Stavanger). Eder Biesel Arkitekter emphasised two aspects: first, to create a new and exciting meeting place for visitors as well as residents of Old Stavanger, and second, the desire to create a vibrant and active museum in a historically authentic place. The winning architectural sketch demonstrated a good understanding of the plot of land and its urban context, and the outcome would be modern architecture interacting with a historically authentic milieu. The competition was organised through collaboration with the Norwegian Association of Norwegian Architects. Recently, the building has been nominated for Stavanger Municipality’s architectural prize. This prize honours buildings or outdoor spaces that contribute to making Stavanger a better place.

Museum Stavanger worked together with Eder Biesel Arkitekter on a zoning plan for the new museum building. The zoning plan was unanimously accepted in Stavanger City Council on 24 October 2016.

On 26 April 2019, Christine Sagen Helgo, then-mayor of Stavanger, made the first symbolic scoop with the backhoe in the Norwegian Canning Museum’s backyard. The plan was for IDDIS to open its doors to the public in autumn 2020, but delays occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic. Closed national borders meant that international museum designers who were to deliver and mount the exhibitions had to postpone their entry to Norway.

Even though the museum was unfinished, IDDIS Café & Brasserie opened on Saturday, 19 June 2021. Here visitors can enjoy delicious food, coffee and other beverages in historic surrounds with modern amenities. The museum café’s unique atmosphere and excellent food have enthused the public. Thus far this year, the café has welcomed 14,000 guests.